Lauri F. Rasnick, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor, and Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Law360, in “COVID One Year In: What Employment Attys Still Don’t Know,” by Jon Steingart. (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt:
Going into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know a lot more than we knew last March. But there is still a lot that labor and employment attorneys don’t know.
One of the unknowns is what the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will do. The day after his inauguration, President Joe Biden ordered the agency to consider whether emergency temporary standards are necessary to protect workers. He ordered OSHA to issue them by March 15, if it finds that they are.
On the other hand, we know a lot more about how to mitigate the virus’s spread, and a growing number of Americans are getting vaccinated every day and thinking about returning to workplaces.
Here, Law360 discusses what employment lawyers know and don’t know about what’s to come. …
Employers Grapple with Pandemic’s Impact on Women, Calls for Racial Justice
As the pandemic recession has continued, it has come down disproportionately hard on women, especially in households with children where they have taken on much of the caregiving.
Lauri Rasnick, an attorney at management-side firm Epstein Becker Green, said companies should consider ways to avoid making working mothers feel as though they have to overcome extra hurdles for returning to in-person work.
Without careful planning, those hurdles could become palpable in workplaces that adopt a hybrid approach with remote and in-person workers, she said.
“I could see a situation where these types of procedures or policies that employers set up around requiring in-person attendance weigh more heavily on working mothers,” Rasnick told Law360.
Some employers may continue to offer remote work options but schedule periods when people are supposed to be in the office for a meeting or to foster collaboration, or choose to downsize their footprint and bring in different teams on different days, she said.
“Once they really start determining what the requirements are for employees coming in, then they’ll need to consider how to accommodate employees who may not be able to come into the office due to various medical conditions or otherwise,” she said.
And as people return to in-person workplaces, the foregrounding of racial justice issues means employers are facing a different world and a renewed opportunity to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion, Rasnick said.
“I think a lot of the employers took some initial steps in the late spring to summer, up until now, where they might have done some listening meetings or even some diversity training or unconscious bias training,” she said. “A number of those companies are looking at what to do as a next step from there and how they can really create lasting programming to have a real impact.”
“The training can really help frame the issues and highlight the issues for employees and management,” she said. “Without some action items, it’s unlikely that training alone is really going to have substantial impacts in the workplace.”